How to Take Conference Speech Questions

It's that moment when you ask for questions after your conference speech. That moment when you know you've done it—given your first successful speech at a conference. But hold on. Because you might have just given your first speech. Yet you still have to take conference speech questions. And there's some technique to doing that.

Conference speech questions

How You Can Take Your Conference Speech Questions With Confidence

Now we all know that it's not rocket science. But there is some technique involved with you answering questions from your conference speech audience. And that's not dissimilar to answering questions in other scenarios. Although you do, of course, have an audience. And everyone's looking at you.

To help you prepare for your next conference speech questions session, here are some pointers.

How You Can Take Your Conference Speech Questions

  • Prepare before the event. Yes, you really do have to prepare questions that you might expect after your speech. Consider your content, the audience and anything topical. Think about your answers and perhaps, write them down. Read through them a few time to prepare.
  • Make sure that you have a microphone ready for your audience's questions if you are in a large auditorium.
  • Ask your audience for questions. Or be prepared to answer questions at a conference speaker panel session. Remember to manage the process…this is your event, of course. First question, thank the questioner and answer the question before looking for the next question.
  • Repeat an audience question if it's a bit inaudible. This helps your conference audience to understand the question. And it also gives you some more time to consider your response.
  • Direct your answer at your questioner. It's their question and so they deserve your answer.
  • Aim to keep your answers short and succinct. This isn't the moment to bore your audience, so use only a few sentences to reinforce one of the main points from your speech.
  • Don't forget that if you are nervous about the first audience question, then you can always "plant" a question. Just ask a colleague or an associate to ask the first easy question. You might well be surprised how many people do this with their own conference speech questions!
  • Manage your time. So answer the number of questions you have time for, thank your audience again and it's time for coffee. There's a good example here of the Prime Minister managing the question process, keeping things personal but also keeping up a good pace.

Boris Johnson Takes Questions With Style

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These simple pointers should help you with your conference speech question and answers session. And once you've done that, then you should relax. Job done.

Keep Your Cool When You Take Audience Questions

Unfortunately you will, on occasions, have to take an idiotic or vexatious question once in a while. That's your job. And it's also your job to keep cool, polite and calm. Joe Biden just about managed to keep it together after this Town Hall style speech in Iowa. Perhaps the rolling cameras forced the issue for him?

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Of course you can always discover plenty of other public speaking tips with our regular series of top tips for speakers, podcasts and videos to help with your next speech. And, with more than 100 top tips, there's something here for every opportunity. Plus, when you are ready for further improvement with your public speaking skills and confidence, then please don't hesitate to get in touch.

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